I’m slowly learning to adapt to my 100Mhz system, and even though there are a few curious points that I’ve had to learn — like the hardware issues I described yesterday — I’m actually quite surprised that I get as much done as I do.
My initial, personal reaction to this little experiment was that I would either go completely crazy waiting to open e-mails, or lose my marbles with nothing to do outside the console. I know, I endorse console applications at every opportunity and practically shove them down the throat of anyone who visits here.
But as far as relying on them for day-to-day use, constantly and without any graphical backups … well, this is a new experience, I must admit. I accept and recommend terminal applications as alternatives or options over GUI-based ones, but as far as forcing myself to live at the console (albeit inside X), I’m taking a dose of my own medicine.
And pushing them at 100Mhz with only 16Mb of memory is a bit extreme — but necessary. I have to prove out loud that these are useful and viable. Walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
So in that sense, not only are the programs themselves presenting a learning curve, but the hardware is confounding things too.
One-hundred megahertz is slow, no matter how you look at it. Things were very different back in 1996, and I have the hardware experiences to prove it. Probably the biggest impediment is just overall web access speeds.
Wikipedia, for example, takes forever to load a page in elinks. It’s not even necessarily loading slowly, but there is some sort of end-of-page flag that elinks is waiting for, and Wikipedia takes forever to send it. So in the mean time, I sit and wait for elinks to surrender control to me again, just so I can read about the Battle of the Somme.
Other web-based stuff is also a drag. Posting pictures on Imageshack is a rather painful process, because the easy click-and-copy-and-paste routine that you and I both know and love … suddenly becomes an exercise in cut buffer wrangling, shift-click-dragging, and timing the right and left button clicks on a two-button ball mouse so that the highlighted text is pasted into place. But only as much as is visible at a time, of course.
elinks also doesn’t seem to have a “Copy link to clipboard” feature like Firefox et al. has. I can highlight a link and then shift-click-drag to highlight the address in the status bar, but there’s no provision to cut-and-paste a link. Which I sorely need for my plog boasts. The ones you see above were actually hand-typed.
On the other hand, GMail in HTML mode in elinks is the food of the gods. My account pages come up quicker in elinks at 100Mhz than it ever does at 1Ghz with Firefox. That I blame on Firefox’s fat butt, which can’t even render strict HTML without pausing for a cookie break.
And alpine makes things a lot quicker too. As an example, I use alpine to access a work e-mail account at home, and I can relay e-mails with prewritten text and signatures much faster with alpine than I ever could with Sylpheed. It’s hard to explain, but alpine’s insert text feature is a huge leap past cutting and pasting in a regular GUI environment.
So slow is relative, in one sense and in another. These console applications are often so much faster than their graphical counterparts that even a machine running at a tenth of the speed can outperform … for my money, that is.
But not everything is wine and roses, of course. I have a few sad points to report, but I’ll save that for later. You’re probably already bored reading this. Sorry, with so few of the distractions of a graphical environment, I find it a little too easy to write.